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Man Hospitalized after Stabbing

vazquezKILGORE — An East Texas man was hospitalized Wednesday morning following a physical argument with a co-worker at a Kilgore business. KETK reports that at 7:15 a.m. police were dispatched to a scene in the 800 block of South Rusk Street on reports of a stabbing, according to a police lieutenant. When officers arrived at JDW Services, they learned Dionicio Vasquez, 62, of Kilgore had allegedly stabbed Samuel Milan, 52, in the area of his left abdomen during a dispute. Milan was treated for minor injuries and released from a local hospital the same day. Vasquez was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was booked into the Gregg County Jail, and bond was set at $100,000 by Judge Glenn Phillips.

Good Shepherd Cuts 24 Positions

thumb_Good-Shepherd-Medical-Center-2LONGVIEW — Good Shepherd Health System eliminated another 24 positions from its payroll this week as part of a continuing effort to reduce operating losses. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. The layoffs come after an announcement last week that Good Shepherd is closing its Linden medical center and Good Shepherd Medical Associates Family Health Centers in Linden and Hughes Springs. Those moves affect 100 employees. Read the rest of this entry »

Garland Man Arrested in Gregg County on Drug, Weapon Charges

andersongreggcoLONGVIEW — A Garland man has been arrested in Gregg County on charges relating to marijuana and weapon possession. At about 4:20 Wednesday afternoon, Gregg County Deputy Tracy Freeman stopped Jonathan Dewayne Anderson, 30, on Interstate 20 for allegedly speeding. Freeman says he smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, Deputy Freeman located approximately 28 pounds of marijuana with a street value of around $20,000, according to authorities. Two loaded handguns were also reportedly found in the vehicle. Anderson was transported to the Gregg County Jail, charged with possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Judge B. H. Jameson set bonds at $50,000 and $10,000 on the charges.

Gregg County Election Recap

thumb_voting-computerLONGVIEW — Gregg County voter turnout was at about 15%, which may sound low, but county officials say that’s only a little below average and they aren’t disappointed with that number. According to KETK, it appears voters were satisfied with how county officials were serving the county, as incumbents really swept the election. Incumbent commissioners Darryl Primo and John Mathis were re-elected to their spots. County Judge Bill Stoudt, who ran unopposed, will also serve another term. District Attorney Carl Durrough was re-elected as well, and Justices of The Peace Precincts 1 and 3 are back to serve Gregg County. We’ll have to wait until May to see who will serve as Justice of The Peace for Precinct 4, as neither contender received more than 50% of the vote. Read the rest of this entry »

Deputy Released after Being Injured in Smith County Wreck

hwy155cr344wreckSMITH COUNTY — Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim McDonald has been treated and released from Tyler’s East Texas Medical Center after being involved in a multi-vehicle accident near Lake Palestine. Public Information Officer John Moore says the wreck happened Wednesday morning at the intersection of Highway 155 and Farm Road 344 when the driver of an SUV, Christion Caldwell, rear-ended McDonald. Caldwell was expected to be charged with failure to maintain speed.

Tyler Man Dies in Wreck Near Kilgore

DPS badgeKILGORE — One person has been killed and one injured in a head-on crash near Kilgore. It happened just before midnight Tuesday on State Highway 31 about four miles west of Kilgore. Killed was Brice Goodgion, 27, of Tyler. He was west bound when a, east bound pickup driven by Christian Banks, 24, of Tyler, crossed over to the west bound lane. Banks is listed in serious condition at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview.

Two Arrested in Longview Prostitution Sting

Chrysty Lynn StittLONGVIEW — Two women have been arrested and several warrants filed following a prostitution sting operation by Longview police. Arrested during the undercover operation were Chrysty Lynn Stitt, 35, of Longview (pictured) and Derrick Terrell Evans, 25, of Dallas. Both are currently free on a Bond of $1,000 each. Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian said the arrests stem from a website often used to advertise sexual services to potential clients. Homeland security also took part in the sting operation because those prostituting are often victims of human trafficking.

Former Whitehouse Officer Charged with Burglary

Reginald WilsonWHITEHOUSE — A now-former Whitehouse reserve police officer turns in his uniform and badge after officials say he was caught on camera stealing from someone else’s truck. KETK reports the suspect, Reginald “Reggie” Wilson, 36, of Tyler, also spent some time as a full-time officer in Whitehouse and ran for a constable post a couple of years ago. Along with that, he was a trainer at a Tyler gym — where he was allegedly spotted making the theft from a client’s vehicle. The client said items including cash and checks had already been taken from his truck before he set up the camera that reportedly caught Wilson in the act. Wilson turned himself in to Tyler police and was charged with two counts of burglary of a vehicle. He’s now free on $1,000 bond. Wilson has also been terminated by the health club. The Whitehouse police chief says he’s shocked by the news about his former employee.

Congressman Hall Faces Runoff after 34 Years in Office

Ralph HallROCKWALL — The dean of the Texas congressional delegation finds himself in the fight of his political life. 90-year-old Rockwall Congressman Ralph Hall (pictured) led the primary field, but failed to get the required 50%. That pits him against former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe in the May runoff. University of North Texas political scientist Kimi KIng says while age may have been a factor, Ratcliffe never made it an issue. King says, “Ratcliffe really played that one quite well. In fact, I think that’s also one of the things about (lieutenant governor hopeful Dan) Patrick…you don’t necessarily paint yourself as being more conservative. You paint yourself as having other characteristics that the candidate doesn’t.” Hall has served in Congress 34 years, the last ten as a Republican. His district covers much of East Texas, and he once represented Tyler.

Home Destroyed, Burn Victim Flown to Dallas

winonafiregregSMITH COUNTY — A Smith County man has been flown to Parkland Hospital in Dallas after suffering severe burns in a fire at his home. The Smith County fire marshal tells KETK officials were called to the scene of a mobile home fire in the 12,000 block of County Road 336, north of Interstate Highway 20, Wednesday morning. Neighbors were able to get the resident out, and he was transferred to a local hospital before it was announced he would be flown to Dallas. The name of the victim is not being released at this time, but the house was destroyed.

Boil Water Notice in Starrville

STARRVILLE — All of the customers of Starrville Water Supply Corporation in the Starrville community are advised to boil drinking water for 2 minutes before consuming. If there are any questions, you’re asked to call 903-343-4599.

Longview Man Guilty in Counterfeit Silver Scheme

frattarolagreggcountyTYLER – A Gregg County man has pleaded guilty in Tyler federal court to counterfeiting violations. James Leroy Frattarola, 47, of Longview, pleaded guilty Wednesday to possessing counterfeit silver bars with the intent to defraud. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell. Federal prosecutors say on September 13, 2013, Frattarola possessed approximately 90 one-ounce silver bars, stamped with the impression “.999 FINE SILVER” and “NORTHWEST TERRITORIAL MINT” with intent to defraud. Frattarola admitted to possessing the counterfeit bars in Longview and to engaging in similar criminal conduct on other occasions involving a total of nine victims. Frattarola was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 23, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Building Briefly Evacuated

TYLER — There was a brief evacuation of a city of Tyler building Wednesday morning. The Tyler Fire Department was dispatched to Tyler Neighborhood Services, 900 West Gentry, around 8:30 for what was termed a strange odor in the building. Officials said workers inside the building started experiencing headaches. They were evacuated before calling 911. Fire units investigated the cause, but after testing the air, they were unable to detect any problems. The building was ventilated and employees were returned to work. No serious injuries have been reported.

Man Pleads Guilty for Role in East Texas Slaying

Daniel MunizLUFKIN (AP) – An East Texas man has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence after a body was found in a burning truck in an alleged drug-related slaying. A judge in Lufkin accepted the plea from Daniel Muniz of Winnie, who faces up to 10 years in prison. Muniz on Tuesday pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence with intent to impair a corpse. Emergency responders in Lufkin last August discovered the body of Efren Mora Elizondo in a burning vehicle. Two other suspects, including a fugitive, face murder charges. A warrant has been issued for Miguel Monsivais of Lufkin. An affidavit says Monsivais is a drug dealer who thought Elizondo snitched on him. Kristine Maldonado Garcia of Lufkin was arrested in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, and awaits trial.

East Texan in Runoff in GOP Ag Commissioner’s Race

tommy merritt-2AUSTIN (AP) — The Republican race for Texas agriculture commissioner is going to a runoff between Tommy Merritt (pictured) and Sid Miller. The two men received the most votes in Tuesday’s Republican primary, but neither got more than 50%. Miller is a former state representative from Stephenville. He attracted statewide attention for his conservative views in the Legislature, including passing a bill that requires doctors to perform a sonogram before an abortion. Merritt is a former state representative from Longview and founder of Gregg Industrial Insulators, which employs 500 people. He lost his seat to tea party activist David Simpson. The agriculture commissioner is responsible for promoting Texas products while regulating food products for safety. The runoff election will be held May 27.

Travel Problems Still Possible in the Area

Tyler Police PatchTYLER – The Tyler Police Department is asking drivers to use caution when traveling over bridges and overpasses. Due to the freezing temperatures, it is possible that these locations have become hazardous in places to drive over. Earlier this morning, the Beckham bridge began to show signs of frozen patches. The City of Tyler Street department was notified and responded to the scene. Officers were directing traffic at that location. Again, drivers are asked to use caution if they are traveling through the these areas. They will continue to monitor the roadways.

Longview Home Heavily Damaged by Fire; Possible Cause Named

graystonefireketkLONGVIEW — Authorities think a major house fire in Longview’s Spring Hill area started from an electrical problem in the house’s attic. The residence sustained extensive damage, and Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary says the structure may be a total loss. According to the Longview Fire Department, the blaze broke out around 11:45 Tuesday morning in the 2900 block of Graystone Road. Authorities tell KETK the fire began in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the house. There were no injuries, and nobody was home at the time of the blaze. Graystone Road was blocked while officials were extinguishing the fire.

East Texas Woman Dies in La. Crash

VIVIAN, LA. (AP) — Caddo Parish sheriff’s deputies say an East Texas woman has died in a single vehicle accident on Highway 2 near Vivian, Louisiana. Sheriff Steve Prator says Jessica Rene Lingo, 29, of Jefferson died at the scene Tuesday morning when she was ejected from a pickup. Another occupant, Phillip Ray Lilley, 30, also of Jefferson, is being treated for injuries at University Hospital in Shreveport. Prator says authorities believe Lilley was driving. He says the pickup ran off the road on a curve.

Primary Election Results

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — Pending the canvassing of votes, here are final, unofficial totals in contested races in the Smith County primaries:

Republican:

State Representative, District 6
Matt Schaefer 9888 61.07 %
Skip Ogle 6304 38.93 %

Criminal District Attorney
Matt Bingham 15208 74.27 %
Austin Reeve Jackson 5268 25.73 %

County Judge
Joel Baker 11483 56.58 %
John Furlow 8813 43.42 %

Family Judge, 321st Judicial Dist.
Carole Clark 13262 64.79 %
John R. Jarvis 7206 35.21 %

Judge, County Court at Law
Brent Ratekin 996 5.22 %
James Huggler 4348 22.77 %
Jason Ellis 5535 28.99 %
Mike Patterson 8217 43.03 %
(Patterson and Ellis in May 27 runoff)

County Commissioner, Precinct No. 2
Cary Nix 4489 76.20 %
James Barry Barnett 1402 23.80 %

Justice of the Peace, Precinct No. 3
James L. Meredith 4314 77.16 %
Noah Butler 1277 22.84 %

Democratic:

County Commissioner, Precinct No. 4
Donald Ray Sanders 454 38.80 %
JoAnn Hampton 716 61.20 %

Lane Closure of Mobberly Avenue near Downtown

longview-cityofLONGVIEW — Beginning today, traffic on Longview’s Mobberly Avenue will be reduced to two lanes from the north side of the East Cotton Street intersection to the south side of the East Methvin Street intersection to allow for construction projects. Drivers are urged to drive cautiously in these areas for the safety of construction workers. It is anticipated that this partial closure will remain in effect until March 9. This street closure is part of the train depot renovation project. For additional information, contact the City of Longview Public Works Engineering Department at 903-239-5504.

Longview Police Warn of Pet Scam

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — Nothing says love like man’s best friend, and East Texans are falling victim to a scam pulling at their heart strings. According to KETK, The Longview Police Department is warning anyone who is looking to buy a pet — or really any item — on the Internet should be cautious with the purchase. Authorities have recently noticed a scheme enticing people to buy animals that don’t exist through the use of stock photos taken from the web. Buyers will send their money before receiving the pet, and in turn are duped by the predators, left with an empty wallet and nothing to brighten their day. If it seems to good to be true, it’s never a good idea, warned Longview PD.

Alleged Walmart Hatchet Swinger Indicted

christopher_hamiltonMARSHALL — A transient from Arkansas has been indicted in Marshall for injuring three persons in a hatchet attack at a Wal-Mart Store. The incident occurred last December. Christopher Lyn Hamilton of Crawford, Arkansas, has been indicted by a Harrison County grand jury on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Investigators say Hamilton allegedly had the hatchet with him when entering the store. Two female workers and a male shopper were attacked. Hamilton fled the store following the atatck. He was found in a wooded area near the store.

Smith County Man Indicted in Longview Murder

alejandrogarciamugLONGVIEW — The Gregg County Grand Jury has indicted a Smith County man in the death of a Longview teen. Indicted was Alejandro Garcia, 22, of Winona. He is accused in the death of Andres Chavez, 19. His body was found lying outside a car in the 1100 block of Sabine Street on December 23rd. During the probe, investigators said Chavez may have been lured to his death by a catfish. A catfish is a person who creates a false online identity to pursue an online romance. Garcia had allegedly set up a fake Facebook account. Authorities say he posed as a woman named Monica Ayalin and had several conversations with the victim. According to Facebook posts, Ayalin and Chavez were in a relationship and he believed he was meeting “her” for a date.

Injured Firefighter Now in Stable Condition; More Benefits Scheduled

Joe YeakleyLINDALE — Officials report injured Lindale firefighter Joe Yeakley has made many improvements, and is now in stable condition in Parkland Hospital in Dallas. And according to a Lindale Fire Department news release, there’s an opportunity coming up Wednesday to help Yeakley and his family. On Wednesday, “His” Music Ministry is working with members of the Lindale community to present a benefit Fajita Dinner and Concert featuring Lindale’s own Casey Rivers as well as local entertainers Mike Huff, Steven Giles, McFarlin & Mabry and Iron Mountain Project. This event will be held at the Lindale High School campus at 902 E. Hubbard. Read the rest of this entry »

City of Tyler Offers Update on Services

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The city of Tyler is among many entities that have faced challenges in the wake of Sunday’s storm. The city offered this update Tuesday afternoon:

The Glass Recreation Center remained closed Tuesday due to a power outage. It is anticipated that it will reopen Wednesday.

The Solid Waste Department did not collect trash Tuesday due to weather related road conditions. They will pick up recycling Saturday and resume normal collection on Thursday and Friday this week. Customers with bulky collection items should place them on the curb and they will be picked up in the next week.

The warming center at St. Louis Church has been closed. Those who may still need shelter are encouraged to contact the Salvation Army.

The Airport remains open.

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